The Los Angeles Hallmark Channel has descended upon Almonte for a second time to produce a feel good Christmas movie titled A Christmas Festival of Ice. Mill Street has been tarted up with a Christmas tree and Christmas wreaths and large ball decorations to simulate a small New Hampshire town – an American flag flies over the post office.
Toronto based director Bradley Walsh base told the Millstone that the story revolves around a young law school graduate, Emma, who returns to her home town to find that the traditional ice sculpting festival, which she fondly remembers, no longer exists. She sets out to restore it, reconnecting with townsfolk through personal appeals. Short of her funding goal, she receives an anonymous donation which puts her over her target and the ice sculpting festival is restored. She abandons a career in law for a possible career with the town she loves.
Today, shooting took place at the Superior restaurant where Emma meets a friend.
Almonte, with its heritage centre is a perfect stand in for a variety of charming towns in both Canada and the United States. Movies companies do not currently pay any location fees to the town for use of local sites.
Almonte’s CAO Diane Smithson has clarified that although the movie company does not pay permit fees to Mississippi Mills for outdoor locations, the movie company pays various businesses for use of their space and it pays locals as extras in the movie and as security guards. The movie company officials also eat in restaurants, rent B&Bs, etc. and so there is a direct economic benefit for the community in general, just not the Municipality directly. If the company uses the Old Town Hall, it pays fees according to a fee schedule.